A Canadian Internet site agreed Monday not to rebroadcast American TV programming to audiences in the United States without permission, settling a lawsuit filed by movie studios, TV networks, the NFL and the NBA.
Toronto-based ICraveTV.com was sued in federal court in Pittsburgh last month for putting on its free Web site programs it intercepted from TV stations in New York and Canada.
The company asserted that the rebroadcasts were legal under Canadian law, but the plaintiffs called the Web site “one of the largest and most brazen thefts of intellectual property ever committed.”
Bill Craig, president of the Internet company, said Monday that he would not rebroadcast any programming unless Canadian laws were clarified to allow it. He said that even if the laws were clarified in his company’s favor, he would improve security on the site to block American audiences.
Craig said the company was settling because it could not afford to continue fighting the suit.
The Web site caught the attention of entertainment and sports industry heavyweights almost immediately after it was launched in November. The plaintiffs--including Disney, MGM, Paramount and ABC, CBS and Fox--accused ICraveTV of copyright infringement, trademark infringement and unfair competition.
Craig has said he didn’t anticipate that American viewers would pick up the programming using computers. But the plaintiffs said Craig’s security was inadequate--so much so that it seemed to them ICraveTV was soliciting American viewers and advertising dollars.